History of the Garden Club of Hingham
In 1924 a group of eight women who shared a common interest in gardening placed an ad in the Hingham Journal looking for people who might be interested in forming a garden club. The original club members were mostly couples, many of whom were the same citizens who founded the Hingham Historical Society. The original club was for the pleasure and edification of its members.
The Depression and WWII changed the club to a service organization run primarily by women. Fruit and vegetable baskets were delivered to those in need and victory gardens were encouraged to fight a food shortage. The club sponsored talks to teach sound and safe gardening and canning practices. They held a horticultural therapy program at the Army-Navy Club and delivered bedside bouquets and Christmas gifts for the VA hospital in West Roxbury.
Post war years brought a June Flower Show at the Girl Scout House in 1947. In 1949 we began selling handmade Christmas wreaths to the town merchants as a fundraiser. In 1952 the Hingham Historical Society gave the garden club the use of the Old Ordinary annex building, then called the Garden House, in return for the maintaining the Old Ordinary Garden, which we still maintain today.
In the sixties the club began to reach out to the community more. In 1961 the Club held their first Standard Flower Show and fundraiser called “Holiday Traditions on Main Street”. Members began putting flower arrangements at the Hingham Public Library each week and planted a tree each Arbor Day. We did Garden Therapy at Hersey House and the Brockton VA hospital. And we gave a graduating senior interested in landscape design a scholarship, the first of many scholarships we have given.
In 1977 we entered an arrangement for “Art in Bloom” at the Museum of Fine Art and have participated every year since. We held a plant sale the following year, which has now become an annual event.
In 1984-85 we planted a new garden at the Leavitt entrance to the library to celebrate our 60th anniversary. By now we were engaged in many civic projects., including landscaping the Habitat House on Central Street, mapping the trees at More-Brewer Park, and planting a new American elm at the library. We gave 6,000 slips of Magnolia virginiana to fifth graders to plant in their home gardens. We paid for a master landscape plan for the South Shore Country Club in 2000, and for the design for the courtyard garden at the newly enlarged Library.
Founders Park, on top of the tunnel cap in downtown Hingham, was landscaped and is cared for by the Club. At Jackass Park we paid for the design, plants and watering system. We still tend to the Old Ordinary Garden, the Library entrance and gardens and the traffic islands in Hingham Center.
The present club continues the mission of education and service. The club sponsors field trips and workshops and each month invites a speaker. The talks include a wide range of topics from beekeeping, and flower arranging to planting and pruning. The club began its first fundraiser with the Christmas Wreath sale, in 1949. Today we have a June plant sale, a Mother’s Day teacup bouquet sale, and occasional Home Garden Tours.